Good Words
New Play Development Workshop
Actors' Scene Showcase

The 2018 New Play Development Workshop is here!

Submission deadline is
Monday, January 15, 2018

This year weight will be given to plays which not only pass our revised version of Bechdel, but also include at least one of following criteria innovated by writer Roxane Gay (and revised by us to be more inclusive of all people of color, trans women, trans men, non binary individuals and other gender nonconforming individuals):

1. A woman or gender nonconforming individual’s story is being told. She is/ they are not relegated to the role of sidekick, romantic interest or bit player

2. Her/their world is populated with intelligent women and/or gender nonconforming figures who also have stories worth telling, even if their stories are not the focus.

3. If she/they must engage in a romantic storyline, she doesn't/ they don’t have to compromise her/their sanity or common sense for love

4. It is the hope, that when attending theatre that tells the stories of women, that half of the time, this individual should be a woman of color and/or a queer woman and/or a gender nonconforming individual because ALL OF THESE WOMEN EXIST.  However, her/their story should not focus solely on this difference because she is/they are a sum of her/their parts. She is/they are not the token. She has/they have friends who are like her/them that show up once in awhile.

5. She/they cannot live in an inexplicably perfect apartment in an expensive city with no visible means of affording it.

6. She doesn't/ they don’t have to live up to an unrealistic feminist or queer standard. She/they can and should be human, she just needs/ they just need to be intelligent and witty and interesting in the way people, the world over, are when we get a chance to really see them.

Are you up for the challenge?

We will present a showcase of up to 8 women and gender nonconforming playwrights’ answers to this call on Wednesday, May 23 at Stage 773.  Each playwright will have a maximum of 15 minutes of stage time; perhaps take this opportunity to try your hand at a one act, or to find a new voice?

Don’t worry; we will work on it for a little while beforehand. We will find you a good director willing to donate their time and we will hold auditions for volunteer actors. We have historically drawn some very fine talent committed to new works.   

To offset our costs for space, each playwright will be asked to donate $45 to the WTA. All time committed to the project by the WTA is volunteer.

First meeting - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Auditions - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tech - Monday, May 21, 2018
Show Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The New Play Development Workshop is an opportunity for playwrights to hone a scene, a play, try something new in community with contemporaries in Chicago theatre, and to showcase work for producing directors and other theatre people.  We will meet as a group for readings, talk, and community building for twice a month for three months before the show. A schedule of meetings is forthcoming.

To enter please supply:
Your resume
Your play idea & How it passes meets the above criteria

A writing sample – it is best if this is from the play you will be working on

Email everything to WTANPDW@gmail.com
Make your Subject Line NPDW 2018 Submission
Playwrights are expected to attend as many meetings as possible, one of these meetings will be Auditions, one will be a match making session with directors. Directors will choose the plays they wish to direct. Playwrights will have right of refusal.

All time committed to the project by the WTA is volunteer. WTA will provide to each playwright: 1 director, Actors, 4 chairs, 1 table, lighting as available within the theatre (no refocusing), sound technician (but will not provide, nor design sound), publicity, programs, meeting space and technical rehearsal. The WTA is not responsible for securing or delivering any other technical elements, furniture or hand props, but coordinator will do her best to help. Please do not assume that anything other than what is listed will be provided without specific conversations with  the event organizers

The New Play Development Workshop is an opportunity for playwrights to hone a scene, a play, try something new in community with contemporaries in Chicago theatre, and to showcase work for producing directors and other theatre people.  

What is the NPDW?

The Women’s Theatre Alliance New Play Development Workshop brings playwrights, directors and actors together to develop new work. Through peer group sessions, playwrights have a chance to hear their scenes read aloud by local actors and to receive feedback which will help them work toward the goal of a completed draft by the end of the workshop.

The NPDW is designed for experienced playwrights and directors. This is not a class. The workshop is not a service but a program that is supported and administered by its participants. The WTA board, staff and programming directors are all volunteers and members of the WTA.

The New Play Development Workshop brings playwrights, directors, and actors together to facilitate the development of new work.

The WTA will provide: Directors and actors as needed, meeting space for scheduled meetings, performance space and tech night, basic lighting for performance, stage crew, some publicity, four chairs and a table. The WTA will not provide additional rehearsal space, any instruments to play music or specific lighting cues which might fall outside the scheme set in the space we are able to rent.

To apply: Send an e-mail which includes a brief description of your play idea and a sample of your writing to wtanpdw@gmail.com. The writing sample does not have to be related to your play idea, but it does help.

What are my obligations as a playwright if I’m selected?  

1.      To cover costs of production, you will be assessed a one-time fee of $45.  

2.      Playwrights must attend and contribute their work to NPDW meetings.  Failure to do so may disqualify you from being able to have your scene produced on stage at the end of the program.

3.      The WTA will be mentioned in the program at any future readings or productions of the play.

How do I find a director and actors to work with?  
If there's a director you know that you would like to work with, contact them to discuss it. We will invite directors who have shown interest and acumen with new plays. You will meet each other and discuss the ideas the playwrights are working on. The WTA and your director will assist with the casting process for the final performance and will invite actors to attend and participate in the reading and feedback portion of the regular meetings.  

About the final scene productions:
Although the WTA will publicize the event, note that you are also responsible for creating your audience. The NPDW asks for a $10 donation at the door from the general public. WTA recommends that the writer, director and cast schedule at least 4 rehearsals of 2-3 hours in length prior to the performance date and outside of our scheduled meeting times. WTA Insists that playwrights be given the utmost respect, are invited to every rehearsal, and are considered integral to the process.